Norway and Canada club together on EU seal ban

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A seal basks in the sunshine in the Svalbard archipelago (File photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix)
09:45 CEST+02:00
Norway and Canada have asked the World Trade Organization to form a group of experts to look at the European Union's ban on seal products, which the two countries oppose.

"Norway, like Canada, believes that the EU's regulations are without foundation," said the Norwegian fishing ministry statement issued Monday evening.

"The population of seals hunted by Norwegian professionals is not threatened and the Norwegian hunt is carried out in a controlled and ethical manner which guarantees the well-being of the animals," the statement added.

Since 2010 the EU had banned trade in products derived from seals apart from the non-profit sales of products that come from the traditional hunting carried out by the Inuit indigenous people.

The European Union position is that the methods of hunting used are cruel: they involve the use of a hakapik, a club with a metal spike on it, to stun the seals before they are killed.

Critics of the hunts say that some seals are skinned while they are still conscious.

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Canada and Norway, which every year kill tens of thousands of seals, insist that the hunting method is not cruel.

Norwegian officials say it would take about a year for a WTO panel of experts to examine the question.

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